Eyewear is very pleased to welcome Rufo Quintavalle (pictured) to these pages this Friday - especially as I have been publishing his work at Nthposition now for several years, always happily. He was born in London in 1978, studied English at Oxford and the University of Iowa and lives in Paris with his girlfriend, Agnès and daughter, Edda. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, The Wolf, The London Magazine, Smiths Knoll, Upstairs at Duroc, MiPOesias, and elimae. A chapbook, Make nothing happen, will be published by Oystercatcher Press in 2009.
There is no other contemporary English poet quite like Quintavalle: from his extraordinary name (perhaps the most inherently exciting since "Ezra Pound") to his exotically-imagined, deeply-thoughtful, ruefully witty, and sometimes very brief, poems, to his slightly marginalised location across the Channel, he represents a different current - one that, should he continue to write as well over the next few years, will establish him, one hopes, as a key British poet of the 2010s.
He surely is the sort of poet a publisher like Salt, or eggbox, might want to seriously engage with - for, among other things, his work moves beyond simplistic poetry battles, to keener demarcations - towards a wide open poetry both intelligent and ludic, both linguistically adept and formally capable. He surprises, and pleases, at once.
Milosz in California
We are more than just meat he whispered
to the swimmers at the beach,
but the swimmers mistook his whispering for the wind
and looked for the white foam lifting from the waves.
We are more than just meat he said,
but the swimmers heard eat
came out of the water
and shared out fruit among them.
We are more than just meat he bellowed
from his hill above the sea,
but the swimmers had left and the black waves
laved then uncovered the beach,
and swimmers, waves and beach,
nothing bellowed back.
poem by Rufo Quintavalle